Dogora shows steel at Gowran
Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh began the Thyestes meeting at Gowran in the best possible way with a victory for Dogora in the Nugent Spirit 25 Horsebox Hurdle.
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The four-year-old prevailed in a titanic battle with Sabrina Harty's Dalasiri, who landed a monster gamble last time out.
The lead changed hands a few times in the straight and the 2-5 favourite was made to pull out all the stops.
Dogora had won his only previous start for Mullins and showed a good attitude for one with so little experience to cross the line a head in front.
Mullins said: "It was hard work and both horses seemed to idle. "Dalasiri seemed to idle first and then our lad. When they both drifted apart they seemed to idle.
"Our fellow is really a chaser.
"They are two nice horses. I'd prefer to keep him for Fairyhouse but he'll get an entry for the Fred Winter.
"Today is the first time he's jumped (traditional) Irish hurdles."
Curvacious (11-1) benefited from a positive ride from David Splaine in the Four Star Langton House Hotel Maiden Hurdle.
Splaine grasped the nettle some way out and kicked on down the back straight.
The 11-1 chance handled the testing ground well and although the even-money favourite Bell Weir eventually made progress from the rear into second, the winner had flown and won by eight and a half lengths.
The Ed Stanners-trained mare had been placed in a couple of bumpers and was fourth on her hurdling debut at Limerick last month.
Tony McCoy's mount Time Please travelled well until the final two furlongs when the going got tough and he was allowed to coast home in his own time.
Stanners said: "She's a big strapping mare and will go handicapping now. She didn't get home on worse ground at Limerick."
Rory Anna was a good winner of the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle. John Walsh's top weight only ran at Naas last weekend when third to Tennis Cap and showed no ill effects from those exertions.
Declan Bates made a positive move some way out on the 12-1 chance and she held Barneys Honour at bay by four and a half lengths.
Walsh said: "She ran well at Naas on Saturday but she won easier than we thought she would here.
"Declan kept her out wide for better ground and she likes a bit of daylight as well. He gave her a smashing ride. It was his first ride for me."